IITA, CGIAR appoint Simeon Ehui as Director General, Regional Director, Continental Africa


The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) Board of Trustees and CGIAR have appointed Dr. Simeon Ehui as Director General for IITA and Regional Director for Continental Africa for CGIAR.

In this role, Dr. Ehui will build on IITA and CGIAR’s proven track record of impact, working with teams and partners to improve livelihoods, enhance food and nutrition security, increase employment, and preserve natural resources across Africa.

Dr. Ehui, a national of Côte d’Ivoire, brings over 30 years’ experience in agriculture and sustainable development to the role. He joins IITA from the World Bank where he was Regional Director for Sustainable Development, providing vision, coherence and focus for sustainable development in West and Central Africa. Dr. Ehui takes over the role from Dr. Nteranya Sanginga, who is retiring after 11 years of outstanding leadership.

“I am delighted to take up the role of IITA Director General and Regional Director, Continental Africa at CGIAR,” Dr. Simeon Ehui said.

“Critical scientific research is essential at a time when poverty, hunger and climate and biodiversity crises are escalating. Africa needs to enhance its potential to feed itself and make its food systems more resilient to climate change. I see myself as a broker across research-for-development among scientists, policy-makers and economists and linking science with program implementation at the global, regional and national levels.”

Christian Borgemeister, Chair of IITA’s Board of Trustees, said, “I am very pleased to welcome Dr. Ehui as the eighth Director General of IITA and as CGIAR Regional Director for Continental Africa. He brings to these roles a passion for IITA’s mission, proven leadership and deep experience facilitating high-level policy discussions, cultivating major partnerships and steering transformational projects. With his expertise and track record, Dr. Ehui is well positioned to be a transformative leader and guide IITA and CGIAR in Africa into the future.

“I also wish to convey my sincere appreciation to Dr. Nteranya Sanginga for his tremendous commitment to IITA over the past 11 years.”

Reporting to the IITA Board of Trustees and to the CGIAR Executive Management Team, Dr. Ehui will act as a counterpart to key continent-wide institutions and lead a step-change in the level, relevance and depth of CGIAR’s presence in Africa.

As set out in the Abidjan II communiqué, CGIAR signed an important agreement with the African Development Bank, the African Union Commission and the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa last year, aligning efforts to boost food and nutrition security on the African continent. Dr. Ehui will be a member of CGIAR’s Senior Leadership Team, which helps guide the global partnership.

Claudia Sadoff, Executive Managing Director, CGIAR, said, “Africa is central to efforts to achieve global food and nutrition security and therefore critical to CGIAR’s mission to transform food, land and water systems in a climate crisis.
Early in his career, Dr. Ehui worked at CGIAR and we are delighted that this distinguished alumnus is returning to help advance those goals and build impactful partnerships across the Continent.”

Dr. Ehui’s appointment is effective August 1, 2023. In the interim period, IITA’s Deputy Director General and Director for Research for Development (R4D), Dr. Bernard Vanlauwe will serve as Director General.

Dr. Simeon Ehui has over 30 years’ experience in agriculture and sustainable development, building a wide-ranging network of scientific research organizations within the CGIAR system, multilaterals, regional bodies and national governments in Africa and beyond.

Prior to joining IITA, Dr. Ehui was Regional Director for Sustainable Development for West and Central Africa at the World Bank. He previously served as Director of the World Bank’s Food and Agriculture Global Practice and was the Bank’s Manager of Agriculture and Water in South Asia and Africa, as well as Lead Economist and Sector Leader for the Sustainable Development Network in Nigeria covering a variety of sectors such as agriculture, environment, social, water, urban, transport, and energy.

Before joining the World Bank, Dr. Ehui worked for 15 years at CGIAR, managing multi-country agricultural research development programs in Africa and Asia for both IITA and ILRI.

Photo: Dr. Simeon Ehui, the new Director General for IITA and Regional Director for Continental Africa for CGIAR.

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